Alaska Airlines Teams Up With Stumptown Coffee For Custom In-Flight Roast

One of the Pacific Northwest's most popular coffee makers, Portland-based Stumptown, is taking to the friendly skies with a coffee blend designed for high-altitude satisfaction on Alaska Airlines. The two brands — one a vanguard of the third-wave coffee movement in the U.S., the other, a leading West Coast air carrier — came together to create a coffee that appeals to a wide swath of tastes. "We wanted a crowd pleaser – something that would delight folks who enjoy milder coffees and also speak to guests who enjoy medium-bodied roasts," Stumptown President Laura Szeliga said in a press release.

The blend is based on Stumptown's leading line, Holler Mountain, but is roasted with a focus on lowering acidity and bringing out a balanced, approachable toasty taste that isn't too mellow or too dark. The reason here is not only because Alaska Airlines needs one brew on board that can be enjoyed by the majority of its guests, but also because altitude changes our sense of taste. Alaska Airlines guests can expect a cup that's "smooth and balanced, with aromatic notes of toasted marshmallows, browned butter and toffee with delicate hints of citrus and cherry."

Stumptown's coffee will be available on all Alaska Airlines flights starting on December 1, 2023. Further, guests at the airline's lounges at the Portland International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport will have access to Holler Mountain coffee's Hair Bender espresso and Trapper Creek decaf while they wait to board.

Shared commitments bring brands together

Why Stumptown? As Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci states in the press release, "Stumptown stands out as first class" among the many cups of coffee he has had while flying. And, just as travel brings people together, so too does coffee. What's more? The two companies share a commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship that includes Alaska Airlines' 2040 net-zero carbon goal and Stumptown's plan to "achieve zero landfill-bound waste in the manufacturing operations by 2025," per the press release.

For their part, Alaska Airlines was the first U.S. carrier to bring a recycling program on board its flights and the first to eliminate cups, straws, and stir sticks made from plastic. Meanwhile, Stumptown, across its cafes, roasteries, breweries, and manufacturing facilities, is committed to reducing water consumption and energy emissions.

That same level of commitment that both Alaska Airlines and Stumptown put into sustainable practices was applied to the development of the coffee, which took place on the ground and in the air. Over 200 pots brewed, 20 variables tested, multiple surveys completed, numerous flight tests, and even pairing tests with inflight cookies and milk helped the two companies land at a brew that satisfies at any altitude.